Des Hasler can still remember the good old days, when songs were written about his Manly side and their arch rivals Parramatta.
The Sea Eagles won four of their eight titles in the 1970s, adding another in 1987.
But in between they were denied twice in grand finals by the Eels, who won three straight and four all-up to dominate the 80s.
Fast forward to 2020 and again the Eels sit on top of the ladder, unbeaten after three games and among the premiership fancies.
Manly are 2-1 following a sharp win in the NRL’s return last week, setting up a Saturday clash the former Sea Eagles utility admits has him feeling nostalgic.
“I remember they wrote songs about Manly and Parra in the 80s and 90s,” Hasler said.
“The rivalry, it’s a very good one and great for footy.
“And when I talk Parramatta up it’s justified … they’re playing a good brand of footy and their journey back has been hard work, so full credit to them.”
The Eels blitzed Brisbane in NRL’s first match back last week, with No.6 Dylan Brown growing in confidence as part of a unit Hasler can’t fault.
“You can see why they’re touted as premiership favourites,” he said.
“Skilful back five, clever halves, some big backrowers that have that offload in them.
“And a middle that can take the ball forward, plus that have that bit of unpredictability in them.
“They’re a great side and they’re going to get better, so we’re going to have to be really clinical and disciplined.”